Car Accidents

2 Million People are Injured in Car Accidents Every Year in the US

Protecting Your Rights After a Car Accident

As the oldest plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm in Austin, Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, has built a tradition of success in handling the most complex and high-stakes cases.

Since 1959, our attorneys have achieved results for our clients through hard work and zealous advocacy in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. Honesty, integrity and excellence are our hallmarks. We take pride in providing our clients with great communication, attention to detail and first-class legal representation.

Car accidents can be frightening and can put those involved in a state of shock. No one ever wants to be in a car accident, so when it happens it can be frustrating for the involved parties. This is true no matter who is at fault. It is best to remember to stay calm, cool and collected after an accident because getting upset never helps the already negative situation. There are certain things that one must remember to do after an accident, if you are not severely injured. If you are not injured or only suffer from minor injuries, it is best to remember to:

Check that Everyone Involved is OK

The first thing that you must do following an automobile accident is to make sure that you are alright, as well as your passengers and those in the other involved vehicle(s). If anyone is in need of medical attention, more severe than a first aid kit can handle, call an ambulance immediately. The health and well being of the involved parties is the most important thing in a car accident.

Call the Police

Even if you are involved in a minor car accident, it is always a good idea to get the police involved. It is best, even if you are at fault, to contact the police for insurance reasons. Most of the time, police will not arrive on scene unless the accident is more serious, or someone involved is seriously injured. However, it is better to try and call them just in case. If they do arrive at the scene of an accident, they can determine who was at fault. Having a filed police report can help you in terms of insurance down the line, even if the cost is having a ticket given on the scene.

Swap Insurance Information

It is always extremely important to exchange insurance information after a car accident, if all involved parties are not seriously injured. It is best to copy down all information and it also wouldn’t hurt to take photos of the other persons insurance card for reference, in case you lose your written copy. If the other driver is uninsured, file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. It is smart to copy down the full name, phone number, address, insurance agency name and client number and the license plate. All of this information can help you either get compensation for the accident or give it if it is needed.

Record the Scene

It is very smart to either keep a small camera in your glove compartment or to have a phone with a camera on it at all times. These can come in handy in the event of an accident because you will be able to properly record all of the damage caused by the accident. You should not only take photos of your own car, but also of the other cars involved.

After you have recorded the scene and swapped insurance information it will be time for you to file a claim with your insurance agency.

Accident FAQ

It is critical that you understand your rights and legal options after a serious accident. You should not rely on information you read online or that you got from a friend or relative — even if that person was also in an accident. What was true in one accident case may not apply to you.

At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we offer an initial consultation to answer your questions and explain your options. Our law office is in Austin, and we serve clients throughout Texas.

Below are questions we often receive from people who have been injured in accidents. Remember that every case is unique. Only an attorney who has reviewed the facts of your case can advise you.

As medical bills mount after an accident, you need to know who is going to pay. We can help you figure out who is responsible so you can seek the compensation you deserve.

Personal Injury Protection Coverage

Under Texas law, auto insurance companies must offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It pays out no matter who was at fault. PIP coverage is limited, however, and will not be enough if you have suffered a serious injury.

If the crash was another driver’s fault, that driver’s insurance company must cover your damages. This can include past, current and future medical bills.

That compensation is part of the reason medical care is so crucial after an accident. No matter how you feel, do not ignore your symptoms or put off treatment. Seeking the appropriate medical care helps you heal and recover, and the records your providers keep will document your injuries and costs for the insurance company.

Until your case is resolved through settlement or verdict, you’ll need to find another way to pay your bills. Our lawyers can help you explore your options.

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A serious car accident means that you may be unable to work for a period of time, and you may find yourself facing more than just the cost of your medical bills. We can help you understand exactly who has to pay for those lost wages, and how to recover them.

Personal Injury Protection Coverage

Under Texas law, auto insurance companies must offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This does have a limit, but it covers a portion of your lost wages. It pays no matter who was at fault.

When another driver is at fault, this burden falls on his or her insurance company. It must pay to cover your damages. This includes lost wages, both that you lost in the past and any you stand to lose in the future. Some people can never return to work after an accident.

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Under Texas law, personal injury protection coverage (PIP coverage) must be offered by insurance companies. It helps provide compensation for damages after a car accident.

Who Is Covered?

Anyone in your car. You, your passengers, your family members and anyone else who gets hurt in the accident. The coverage applies regardless of fault.

What Is Covered?

Many different damages may be covered. This includes medical bills, lost income (80 percent) and additional medical costs, like the cost of hiring a caregiver for an injured party.

How Much Is Offered?

Insurance providers must offer $2,500. Most allow drivers to purchase more. Costs can far exceed $2,500 in many accidents, so it is often wise to buy more than just the minimum. Remember, it is there for you and your family.

Can Drivers Reject It?

Yes, but it can only be rejected in writing. If the insurance company does not have your written rejection, you are covered.

Is PIP Enough?

In serious accident cases, it is likely that your costs, including medical bills and lost wages, will exceed the amount available to you through PIP. However, if another driver caused the accident, you may be able to start a civil case to seek full compensation for your damages.

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You are facing more than just medical bills after an accident. Your car is damaged, possibly even totaled. Who pays so that you can get to work, school or anywhere else you are required to go?

At Fault

Texas is a fault state. The responsibility of paying for property damage to a car falls on the insurance company of the driver who caused the crash. If you need a rental while your car is being repaired or replaced, this cost must also be covered.

Injury Claims

Do you have medical bills and lost wages to go along with the cost of the car? If we handle your personal injury case, we will also help you with a vehicle damage claim at no cost at all to you. Let us help you get back on the road and get life back to normal.

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Even if you were partially at fault, Texas law allows you to file a claim by using the modified comparative fault rule. What it means is that partial fault that does not hit or exceed 51 percent may still lead to a claim.

The difference is simply that your recovery will be lower than if you were zero percent at fault, based on how much of that fault was assigned to you. For instance, 30 percent fault leads to a 30 percent reduction in damages recovered.

Should You Discuss Fault?

The best thing to do after an accident is to stay silent. Any admission about fault or even a subtle comment could be used against you. In every partial fault case, you should have a lawyer to do the talking for you.

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Road defects stem from poor design, poor maintenance and many other sources. They can cause accidents even when you haven’t made a mistake behind the wheel. You must know how to proceed. Compensation may be possible even when no other drivers were involved.

Examples Of Road Defects

Road defects may include:

  • Sudden drop-offs
  • Uneven traffic lanes
  • Missing signs
  • Improper signs
  • Unsafe guardrails
  • Missing guardrails
  • Equipment or debris on the highway

At highway speeds, your reaction time may not be enough to save you from a serious accident.

Who Is Liable?

If you were not liable and no other driver was at fault, liability may fall on:

  • Contractors and construction crews that built or worked on the road
  • The municipality that is supposed to properly maintain the road
  • A parts and materials supplier that provided defective materials

Every case is unique, so it is important to sort through all of the details of your case.

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When another driver hits you, it is natural to expect that driver’s liability insurance to pay for your car damage, hospital bills, lost income and other losses. But what can you do if the driver has no insurance?

The car accident attorneys of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, help clients in Austin and surrounding areas of Texas to work through this issue all of the time. If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a crash that was caused by an uninsured driver, make your first call to us.

We can explore and pursue all of your options, including taking action against a liable third party or filing an uninsured motorist claim with your own Texas auto insurance provider. While you focus on your health and your recovery, we will be hard at work, seeking maximum compensation for your losses.

Call 512-593-7650 or email us today to request your consultation.

What Are Your Insurance Options After An Austin Car Accident?

If you own and operate a car in Texas, you must have liability insurance. This insurance will pay for the property damage and bodily injuries that you cause in a crash. Texas law requires you to carry this insurance in the following minimum amounts:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury to one person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury to two or more persons (per accident)
  • $25,000 for property damage

So, if you are struck by another driver in Austin, your first option would be to file a claim with that driver’s insurance provider. It is possible that the driver will have coverage that is above the minimum amounts.

Of course, it is also possible that the driver has no insurance. In fact, according to recent figures from the Texas Department of Insurance, 14 percent of drivers in our state are uninsured — which is more than 2.5 million drivers.

If you find yourself in this situation, you could file a claim through your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. You should have this insurance unless you have rejected it in writing.

UM applies when you are hit by a driver with no insurance or by a hit-and-run driver. UIM kicks in when you are struck by a driver whose insurance fails to cover all of your losses. It can cover the difference between what the other driver’s liability policy covers and your losses — up to the amount of UIM you have purchased.

An insurer must offer UM/UIM coverage in the following minimum amounts:

  • $20,000 for bodily injury to one person
  • $40,000 for bodily injury to two or more persons (per accident)
  • $15,000 for property damage

To fully protect yourself, you should never reject UM/UIM coverage. You should also consider buying coverage above the minimum amounts.

If you look at the declarations page of your auto insurance policy, you will see that you may have many other types of coverage that you can turn to in case you are in a crash — regardless of who is at fault and whether the other driver has any insurance. These types include:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) — Like UM/UIM, you should have this coverage unless you have rejected it in writing. The insurer must offer you a minimum of $2,500 in coverage. It pays for your medical bills, costs of hiring a caregiver and up to 80 percent of your lost wages.
  • Medical payments — This coverage — also called “MedPay” — covers your medical costs caused by a crash.
  • Collision — This insurance covers the repair or replacement of your vehicle. If you are financing your car, your lender has likely required you to have this policy as well as comprehensive insurance, which pays for damage unrelated to a collision such as a flood, fire or vandalism.
  • Towing, labor and rental — Your insurance may cover getting your car towed from a crash and for repair work. The other driver’s insurer typically will pay for your rental expenses. However, you may also have a policy that will cover rental costs.

Your lawyer from Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, will look at all of these options in your case. You can count on us to take efficient and effective action on your behalf, including filing a claim with the other driver’s insurer or your own insurer.

Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible to settle a claim. This is why you need to have an aggressive and experienced lawyer by your side. You can trust us to do the hard work it takes to prepare your case for settlement negotiations and to fight for a full and fair settlement for you.

Do You Have Other Options When Hit By A Driver With No Insurance?

If you are injured by an uninsured driver in Austin, your options may go beyond filing a claim with the other driver’s insurer or your own insurer. Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, will explore other options such as:

  • Employer — If the driver who hit you was working at the time of the crash, that driver’s employer may be liable to pay for you losses. The employer is likely to carry a commercial liability policy.
  • Business or social host — You may be able to seek compensation from the bar, restaurant or store who sold alcohol to a “visibly intoxicated” driver or to a minor who hit you. A social host who gave alcohol to a minor who caused your crash could also be held liable.
  • At-fault driver’s personal assets — If the other driver lacks insurance, you can seek a recovery from the driver’s personal assets. However, in most cases, the driver will lack the financial resources to cover all of your losses.
Get Help Today From Our Austin Uninsured Motorist Accident Attorneys

As you can see, you may have many options available to you after being hit by an uninsured driver in Austin. You should get in touch with Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, right away and allow it to get to work on pursuing all options available to you. Contact us today for a immediate consultation.

Sources/more information

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Car accident claims must be filed promptly, lest you lose your chance to collect. Even with a valid claim, waiting too long can deprive you of compensation for lost wages, medical bills and more.

The Statute Of Limitations

Under Texas law, the general statute of limitations for these accident injury claims is just two years.

If you are filing a claim against a government agency or a municipality — which you may do after a road defect causes an accident, for instance — you may be required to file notice within just a few weeks. Failing to do so can negate your valid claim, even if the two years have not passed.

As you can see, you must know all of the deadlines you face as soon as an accident occurs. That is why it is so important to contact a lawyer quickly in the wake of an accident. Getting the case started immediately is the best way to ensure you do not accidentally miss a deadline and lose all rights to your claim.

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Get answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury law.

Legal Help For Victims Of Accidents

Our lawyers are ready to put our decades of experience and culture of success to work for you if you have suffered serious injuries in an accident caused by the fault of another. Call 512-593-7650 or email us for a consultation.